Here's the deal. I'm going to explain it in full so you get a good idea of what's happened.
Damn Windows Update started installing a video card driver. My system is a Dell Vostro 430 and has an ATI HD 4350 (I think), but however, for some stupid reason it can only work with Dell's video driver. So when Windows Update installed the official driver for me, by the time I realised what it was doing it was too late. My screens went black; an incompatible driver screwed everything up.
Worse yet, it was still installing updates, so I was scared to turn my computer off in case it would create major problems. After waiting for four hours I decided it was time to pull the plug. After restarting the computer, it kept rebooting when it started loading Windows 7, and then soon after it didn't even get that far; it told me there was no compatible SATA device found and it refused to boot full stop. Trust this to happen at assignment hand-in week. I've got so much work to do.
I went to the library and downloaded an Ubuntu ISO and burned it to disc. I also got a legit ISO (I'm a student and use MSDN) of Windows 7 x86, since Windows 7 x64 had its problems with the software I use for my course. First of all I backed up all of my uni work using Ubuntu as a live CD, which worked okay. I moved other important data from my Windows (main) partition to my other partitions (Music, Games, TV/Films, etc) since I knew I was going to be formatting my system partition for a reinstallation.
I have two HDs installed. A 500GB one and a 1.5TB one. The drives seem to still be working since I could access them in Ubuntu. However, most of the partitions were formatted as dynamic partitions, not basic. It seemed that the partitions on my 500GB drive were basic, whereas the ones on my 1.5TB were dynamic. This is why it disallowed me to install Windows 7 on the 1.5TB drive. (It dislikes dynamic partitions for whatever reason.) However, I formatted the original basic system partition and started installing Windows 7 x86 on it. It got to 100% and was finalising installation, until it halted, told me the installation had failed, and that I'd need to restart and try again. Every time I have tried, it has failed at that point.
I don't know what the heck to do. I can't remove the partitions that exist because they contain a lot of data that I really want. I also have no means of backing up the data. I have no DVD discs left (and it would take a damn lot to back up hundreds of gigs), and no external HDs. Just for the sake of trying it out, I tried installing 7 x64 and got the same error, so I don't think it's x86-specific. So if anyone can help...
First reset the BIOS to its default settings. Then I think what you need to do is make sure the 1.5 Drive is unplugged during the installation. Just leave the 500 GB installed. When you get to the install screen delete any and all existing partitions on the 500 GB drive and create one new partition. Win 7 will inform you that it may make another partition for System files. Proceed from that point. If the install succeeds connect the 1.5 HDD to the motherboard and see if Win 7 boots up with it in place.
If this fails then it is likely that the standard Win 7 set up disk is missing a vital driver that your Dell requires. So when Win 7 reaches the end of your setup it goes to initialize and then fails due to the missing driver. Dell and HP and other companies like them often have drivers that will only work on their system. A clone will run on generic drivers to get you up and running.
Im using Windows 7 64bit Pro before you change BIOS Storage settings SATAII configuration to "[Enhanced]", and in the option "Configure SATAII as [ACHI]. Install the ACHI drivers which should be online somewhere.
HERES THE BEST WAY
Insert windows vista/7 64bit install DVD, when you see "Where do you want to install Windows?" page. Insert your SATAII AHCI driver disk - thats like pressing F6 to add a non supported HDD driver. EASY eh........ I think thats the best way i feel a bit sorry for fluid mantis - all he should of done is use safemode with networking to find the correct AHCI sataII drivers. Then install new drivers. Partioning drives no-need (i bet the drivers were on that 500gb drive) or on dell site. If summat device isbt working properly "ALWAYS USE SAFE-MODE".
Ill go on a bit.
Quick way to solve: enter BIOS - change SATAII Configuration as [Enhanced], then in the option Configure SATAII as [IDE]. Now install Windows. Find the driver and install.
Goto into your BIOS and into storage configuration and set SATAII configuration to [Enhanced], then configure SATAII option to [IDE].make sure the setting for SATA mode is is AHCI. Exit and Save BIOS. And now your drives should work fine (hopefully u havent lost anydata. All your drivers should come on the motherboard cd/dvd - as soon as windows is rebooted - run that to install ( Make sure you have your Drives selected for boot etc.) Usually you enable AHCI bfore you install the OS. Companies like DELL and HP use hardware that isnt very common. If you havent got drivers like Wamphyri said - use a generic driver first - then find the correct drivers and everything should be OK. If you find the correct driver - with a bit of work ya can add the correct drivers to the win installation files and re-burn disk (i always use the same volume name). Remember the created DVD should be bootable.. If ya look at the contents of the DVD - You should see a folder called "inf" containing "setup.cfg", edit this file and at the very end you should see [SetupFolders] add the following 3 lines:
oh yeah every partition you call "dynamic" are actually "Logical" But the first partition is usually PRIMARYand active. The only drive which is bootable has flag "boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition". When i add a new drive to my PC, basically just cable it up - use bios to put in right boot order then the drives partition is "Healthy, Primary Partition".
OK, this is gonna be really useful - this application allows you to add drivers to be installed into your Windows Setup DVD. This requires an external storage device.
* 8F. INSTALLING THE WINDOWS 7* INF FILES PRIOR
* TO OS INSTALLATION
The simplest method for installing Windows? onto new hardware is to
start directly from the Windows product DVD with an answer file called
Autounattend.xml. Boot the computer with the Windows Setup media in the
DVD drive and the configuration set available on an external drive.
By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer
file called Autounattend.xml. Autounattend.xml must be located at the
root of the removable media. A CD/DVD-ROM drive should be ok for the Autounattend.xml file (remember to put it in the root of CD/DVD.
The answer file enables you to automate all or parts of Windows Setup
Includeing adding INF files. You can create an answer file by using Windows
System Image Manager (Windows SIM).
Microsoft* published a Wndows Automated Installation Kit(WAIK)
(Must be the windows 7 version) which facilitates creation of answer files
and image creation for unattended installs of Windows 7 with tools such as Windows SIM
To create a configuration set you will need: Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) installed on a technician(dont worry - any desktop computer will suffice.
An authorized copy of a Windows ? product DVD.
The Chipset device driver .inf files.
Access to a network share or removable media with sufficient storage space.(CD/DVD drive).
Windows Automated Installation Kit RTM Now Available for Download.
The RTM version of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows-AIK or WAIK) is now available for download from Microsoft downloads. This download contains the production version of the tools necessary to create a Windows Vista image such as Windows System Image Manager, Windows PE 2.0, and Imagex. It also includes the production version of Windows Deployment Service so that you can upgreade your RIS boxes to WDS.
OK i solved it in 5 minutes - AHCI is enabled across 4 Harddisks. Right first thing you need is to find the drivers for your storage controllers. Copy the.inf .cat .stor into C:\Windows\Inf folder. Now using Windows Manager 7 by Yamicsoft (find the option to enable [Enhanced] and [AHCI]. Now your Harddrives will start looking/detecting and installing the drivers. Now reboot to activate the new drivers - now instead of blue screens on startup - Windows will boot perfectly. Even the way CDROM boots is different. Theres probably a different way to enable AHCI - i think if you just copy drivers into C:\windows\Inf and reboot PC it might work there too. Anyway if ya start installing from scratch when the installig shows ya hdd's to select destination notice the "Load" option - using ANY removeable device you can add drivers before going any further.... Thats like pressing F6 on the old installations. I used ImgBurn, added all the folders and files from the Win 7 pro DVD - added the AHCI drivers, made it bootable (ripped the sectors from a source disk)... Success it started to boot - so now we know how to add drivers to AUTO install... It activated no problems too... So that should be the end of this topic...